About Laurie Wender

Couples Therapist

Parent and Child Therapist

Offering Counseling in English and Spanish

On Being a Therapist

By chance I was offered a job in a preschool as a recent college graduate, and little did I know that working with children, couples and families would become my life long work and passion.

After several years working as a pre-school teacher I realized that to be able to be as helpful to children as possible, I would need to learn skills to work with their parents as well. This realization sent me back to college to study to be a family therapist.

Over 40 years and hundreds of children, couples, and families later I remain passionate about helping my clients resolve their difficulties and prevent more complicated problems from developing in the future.


I have a wealth of experience accumulated by working in a wide variety of settings with many different clients and their problems.

For 10 years of my private counseling practice I was a part of the Family Guidance and Therapy Center in Vallejo. The staff and I received training weekly in advanced family therapy for over three years. This training was an invaluable experience, which helped me to become highly competent and confident in the skills necessary to provide effective family therapy.

For 5 years I worked as a member of a research team at the University of California, San Francisco. Our study focused on evaluating patients' pain and anxiety during surgery.

My training in cultural anthropology and my studies in Spanish in Mexico have guided me in my openness and skill in working with clients from varying cultural, ethnic, and religious beliefs and traditions.

My Counseling Philosophy, Style & Approach

Couple sitting together in counseling session with the counselor in the foregroundAs a Counselor, I am:

  • Heart centered, yet firm
  • Practical and down to earth
  • A skilled communicator
  • Prevention-focused
  • Someone who offers hope of real change

My clients experience me as a comfortable and safe counselor, but one who sets appropriate boundaries when necessary.

My clients also tell me they are surprised and grateful that I can often rapidly see to the heart of situations or problems and help them efficiently make the changes that are necessary to have the lives they want. I know that even small changes often make a big difference.

Education and Licensing

Licensure: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
1973 Lone Mountain College, San Francisco, California, Master of Arts
(Clinical Psychology)
1973 Melange Institute, San Anselmo, California
(Advanced Family Therapy Training)
1972 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor,Michigan, Master of Arts
1968 Instituto Mexicano-Norteamericano de Relaciones Culturales, Mexico City, D.F.
(Advanced Spanish Grammar and Conversation)
1964 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Bachelor of Arts, with Distinction
(Literature, Science and the Arts)

Honors and Awards

1965 - 1966 Fellowship, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
School of Education
(Special Education)
1963 Scholarship. Russian Language Study Tour
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michgan
1961 - 1962 College Honors Program
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michgan
1961 Branstrom Award (Freshman Honors)
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
1960 Junior Phi Beta Kappa (Academic Honor Society)
Mumford High School, Detroit, Michigan

Professional Memberships

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Counseling Services Offered in English and Spanish

My work as a counselor gives me a way to be who I am and to do my part, with my unique gifts, to make the world a better place.

If you think we might be a good fit for working together,
please contact me and we’ll get started.

Phone: 707.449.8213|
Text: 707.628.3724